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Hot-shooting Pitt blows out Florida State

Nov 25, 2006 - 2:40 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Aaron Gray has been unstoppable all season. Antonio Graves and the rest of Pittsburgh got into the act against Florida State.

Graves and Robert Ramon combined for 29 points and made 7-of-9 3 pointers as the No. 4 Panthers shellacked the Seminoles, 88-66, in a non-conference matchup.

Mike Cook added 15 points and nine assists for Pittsburgh (6-0), which shot 62.5 percent (35-of-56) and made 10-of-18 from the arc in winning their 17 straight non-conference home game.

"I thought we had a great performance," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "I don't know where to start with our guys (because) I thought the whole team played very well against a good team. In no way did I think we'd be able to get off to that big of a lead."

Pittsburgh had 28 assists on 35 baskets and turned the ball over just 16 times against the athletic Seminoles defense.

"We recruit passers. We recruit guys that can pass," Dixon said. "You don't teach that. It's a gift, it's a skill. This might be the best passing team we've ever had, the most unselfish team we've ever had.

"We just saw them on film and knew that was a strength, pushing the ball. They're so athletic. There's no team more athletic in the country than them, and we did a very good job not turning the ball over."

Florida State closed within 30-25 with 7:39 left in the first half on a 3-pointer by Toney Douglas before Pittsburgh went on a 20-2 run. Ramon hit two 3-pointers during the spurt, Graves added another and Sam Young a three-point play during the burst. A 3-pointer by Douglas stopped the run and capped the first-half scoring with Pittsburgh leading, 50-30.

Cook scored on a jumper and a layup, Graves scored on a layup and Tyrell Biggs hit a jumper as the Panthers opened a 58-32 lead three minutes into the second half and cruised thereafter.

"We ran into a Pittsburgh team tonight that seemed to be running on all cylinders," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "They kinda ran a clinic, you might say. We've always had a program known for playing good defense, but they put on such a clinic on offense, they exposed a lot of our weaknesses tonight. They're a very good basketball team."

A 7-0 senior, Gray had dominated the Panthers' early-season foes, averaging 17.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and shooting 66 percent from the field. He shot 3-of-3 from field and 3-of-4 from the line against Florida State.

Graves finished with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting and Ramon had 12 and five assists in 19 minutes.

"Every game is a test. It's a challenge," Ramon said. "Every team we play plays us hard. It's the biggest game of the year every time on the court. To us, every game is a big game. We have to keep that mind-set, we've got to be ready.

"The guys were looking for me. They have to guard every single person on the team, so it opens a lot for our shooters."

Douglas, a transfer from Auburn, scored 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting for the Seminoles. He made 5-of-6 shots from the arc.

Al Thornton added 14 points and Uche Echefu had 13 for Florida State, which lost despite shooting 50 percent (22-of-44) from the floor.






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